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HELP me justify my GR me-1nv over the Isa one
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marnisellers
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#1
23rd May 2012
Old 23rd May 2012
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HELP me justify my GR me-1nv over the Isa one

I am doing some acoustic guitar/layered vocals for a project that is very important to me (aren't they all?).

Important enough that I am spending all of my money on it. I initially bought the Isa, liked it, and then bought the GR, also liked it. I've spent the last couple days A/Bing them with different mics, and especially like my vocals through the at4080 ribbon.

But here's the drama: Really, I can't hear too, too much difference between the GR and the Isa on my voice. Whether dry, or with plugins...The GR sounds slightly better (tighter I think is the word, slightly tighter) but...I mean...is it $800 better? (I almost feel like the ribbon neutralizes the preamps to a certain extent...kind of a strange experience those ribbons)

I think recording drums makes a hell of a lot of difference to a lot of people on this forum, and I can see how those crazy transients require much more from a preamp/compressor...but for someone who is only doing vocals and some M/S acoustic guitar recording, am I crazy for thinking I should return the GR, and use the money instead on a distressor? Haven't the Isa's been used on hella pro recordings?

I could buy another Isa one for $377, leaving me $800 for an EL8, some MIDI drums, and maybe even some money for a steak. I already have good mics, treatment, guitars, etc. Show of hands: which path shall I take? The ribeye vs. strip steak is not even in question btw...
marnisellers
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23rd May 2012
Old 23rd May 2012
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gosh daingit the more I listen to this the more I like the GR...sounds...so...buttery...
#3
23rd May 2012
Old 23rd May 2012
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It's black?
marnisellers
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#4
23rd May 2012
Old 23rd May 2012
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There is no place for reverse racism on gearslutz
#5
23rd May 2012
Old 23rd May 2012
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Ribeye! Medium rare please!
Oh mic pre amps, yes. Well damn, if you can't hear that much if a difference to warrent keeping the GR, then return it for the isa-EL8-ribeye combo. The distressor is a very handy compressor to have around. A jack of most all trades so to speak. Very nice on vocals. You might end up with two distressor for your soon to be pair of ISA's.
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#6
23rd May 2012
Old 23rd May 2012
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The fact that you're from houston made me think that I could go for some bbq brisket actually...

The trouble is that in my experience, you only really notice the difference at the end...mixing is like a painting..and little things do add up...

So when A/B-ing single vocal tracks, either at home or with shootouts on here...it's kind of...shortsighted?

I was hoping I'd find someone who was in the same situation, has made an album with both and had no problem. And who thought the EL8 was much more worth it than the nominal change in a preamp.

The GR sounds more "controlled" in my vocal tests, and its hard to return something when you find a place for it on the rack and everything...

And then there was that ART vs. GR shootout...

Anyway I could go for some biscuits and some brisket and perhaps some banana pudding please, thank you
#7
23rd May 2012
Old 23rd May 2012
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Mixing, yes that will expose some flaws certainly if you have a dense arrangement. But if your arrangments are only the acoustic GTR and vocals that might not be so bad. Maybe. Were you using the GR on vocals mainly? What types if mics are you using. BBQ in houston isnt all that, but there are a few good spots.
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23rd May 2012
Old 23rd May 2012
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Well its a bunch of stuff mixed together (midi drums, strings, acoustic guitar, etc.), but some songs are very, very vocal heavy, with 4 part vocal harmonies up front in the mix. I do have all the waves plugins so I'm thinking I may be better waiting on the EL8 rather than giving up the GR. That being said I've never actually used a hardware compressor...

I think there is a tradeoff here either way. I can compress in the box, I can't great river in the box. That makes sense right? I'm using a TLM 49 and an AT4080. I love the Ribbon through both pres.

I saw your studio's website and I see you have no Focusrites. Although interestingly you have the UA 610, which I couldn't make work for the life of me...

Isn't houston the place with the great bbq? Is that Austin? I love your governor because he makes me feel like literally anyone could be in charge of a giant state
#9
23rd May 2012
Old 23rd May 2012
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If you like it more, i think you already made a decision...sort of

Difference may not be ne drastic as you tjought...but it never is. You pay for the 5% better with a lot more in money. But the 5% is where the sparkle lies
#10
23rd May 2012
Old 23rd May 2012
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marnisellers, I feel your pain sir! I'm currently trying to work out myself whether to pull the trigger on a GR, Pacifica or Millennia HV3. It is indeed, an absolute mine field. Nice to hear you love the GR though
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#11
23rd May 2012
Old 23rd May 2012
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You need good steaks to make sure your ears are hearing their best,,
I would justify the purchase this way;
Is recording a fad for you, something you might be into for a year or 2, but then put it in the closet for 10 years?
Golf is that way for me, so no need to get a great set of clubs for hacking up the course.
But if you are into recording, good gear will last...a GR pre, or any top shelf pre might be with you 30 years..a lifetime.
In that context, get 1 really great premap that you will not regret, and celebrate the purchase with a steak dinner.
Then get some side jobs to pay for it all.

Best of luck!
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#12
23rd May 2012
Old 23rd May 2012
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Only you can tell if it IS what you need, and as you have the ISA there as well you have the benefit of A/Bing to your hearts content. While I too have a small hobbyist setup, once I tried the GR for a few days I made the decision that I can plug in whatever mic (or as importantly to me an occasional bass guitar or Tele with piezo) and never wonder if I picked the right preamp - it always delivers for me and i've never re-thunk it - and I still eat steak on occasion...
#13
23rd May 2012
Old 23rd May 2012
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You're not going to get any kind of "day and night" differences... no matter what the guys on this forum will tell you. What you will get is "a little bit better" [as you've experienced]. Once you get past the point of "works good" [which the ISA does], its a game of inches... and each "inch" is exponentially more expensive than the preceding inch.

Its really a question of how important those inches are to you. If you're searching for the best "audio quality" you can attain... then the inches are important. If you just want to get the song down and move onto the next one... then the inches aren't that important, and there is no need in your world to spend the extra money.

Its all about choices... and you're the only one who can make them.

Peace
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#14
23rd May 2012
Old 23rd May 2012
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You're monitoring on what? The GreatRiver is a wonderful, very colored preamp. The ISAOne is absolutely "passable"--I'd frankly rather use my built in transformerless preamps in my Akai DPS24.

I mean...$800 difference? If you're looking for a linear quantification of "better ness" you'll never find it. The DA on a $100 DVD player isn't as good as a Benchmark DAC1...is it $900 "better"? It's better. Have the money...or don't...it's not linear. If you're looking for the "breaking point", the ISA is way over it. You can buy decent clean quiet preamps for $25-100/ch. they're not "wonderful"--and neither is the ISA.

That said...the other part of this equation...that Great River will outlive YOU...unless you're really old or it will never be moved, I not know that the ISA is the same.

The ISA is the one that needs justification, IMO. Home studios "justify it" because it gives the a different flavor of preamp for less than $500. Not because it's "great". Not because it will last forever. Not because it was built by non slave labor committed to fidelity. In truth, it's not "better" than ART or DBX or Sytek or many other makers of solid "better than built in" preamps...but, the increase in money makes you justify that it's better. Really, it's different. Arguably its DI is better. But, if DI was what matters, a Solo610 or RedDI will eat its lunch for a touch more for EP or bass. And the Great River you have KILLS it on Bass DI.

I miss my Great River...hopefully, one day in the future, I'll pick another one up. Come to think of it...you should sell me yours cheap!
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#15
23rd May 2012
Old 23rd May 2012
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This is the reason of existence for this forum.
Get the GR. Then get one neve or api, then shadow hills quad gama.
This is never going to end if you know there is a "better" one.
#16
23rd May 2012
Old 23rd May 2012
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The decision is up to you marnisellers. Lots of good info here. I have used neither, soooo......
Sometimes its nice to have many options available since you will be tracking multiple instruments in an overdubbing fashion. Having a hardware compressor is a nice way to add some more color on the way in and keep your level to the AD stage in check. As far as I know there is no one plug in that does what the distressor does, however a few chained together might give you something in the ballpark, maybe. As the EL8 can add tube and tapelike harmonic distortion also while emulating la2as, 1176s, yadda yadda..... Hardware compression normally sounds more pleasing to my ears. So even if you keep the GR, which looks like you may still consider a nice compressor for a later upgrade on your signal chain. Do you have any buds that could lend you a hardware compressor of decent quality to play around with?

Tx governors, I think GW set an all time new low of any elected US official. Perry is a numbskull too, he was LT gov during GW's time in TX.
#17
23rd May 2012
Old 23rd May 2012
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The ISA and GR are both based on Neve , so they sound similar .

I say sell GR , the ISA as you can hear , is good enough to make great recordings .
#18
23rd May 2012
Old 23rd May 2012
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Honestly, it depends on what you want. ISA One is a terrific preamp. It's pretty neutral. GR can get very colored. Colored isn't inherently better than nuetral, just different. However, that difference, including production costs (USA Made versus China made) make up the total cost...I think (I'm still pretty certain there's some serious profit padding going on with the GR). They're both equal, pro preamps in my books, when it comes to quality of sonic production.

Personally, I get about the same results with a modded GAP PRE73 (550 bucks total) as I get with the 1200 dollar GR. They're both Neve designs.
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23rd May 2012
Old 23rd May 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ScumBum View Post
The ISA and GR are both based on Neve , so they sound similar .

I say sell GR , the ISA as you can hear , is good enough to make great recordings .
The ISA is NOT Neve based (in the sense of the BAE, AMS, EZ, HERITAGE) although it is certainly from the brain of Rupert Neve just as a Portico is not a "neve" pre... they are all pretty much totally different beasts. They are great beasts (especially the early console ISAs) but it's not a NEVE pre in the 1073/1290 sense that we have all come to use that term to associate a sound with.
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#20
23rd May 2012
Old 23rd May 2012
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Why would you want to get rid of arguably the best mic pre ever made?
marnisellers
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#21
24th May 2012
Old 24th May 2012
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Hi everybody - thanks for all the input.

I think, everything else being equal, I would stay with the GR no matter what. But the choice isn't to return the GR in order to have money, but rather, return the GR and buy an EL8 with the money I save.

So it's whether getting the EL8 will end up getting me a professional sound more than the 5% the GR gets me over the ISA.

If you had a choice, ISA and EL8, or GR with Waves plugins; which would it be?

But as I mentioned before, you can always get close to a nice compression sound ITB with Waves or whatever....but you can't "Great river" in the box...right? Do people agree with that?
marnisellers
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#22
24th May 2012
Old 24th May 2012
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Or as Gov. Perry would say: "I ain't got dang man got dun dang"
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#23
24th May 2012
Old 24th May 2012
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And yeah, on soundcloud you can hear all those GR samples. There is a sort of "glueyness" quality that the GR has that sets it apart. Like I mentioned before, a "tightness", especially noticeable on ribbons...

It's interesting that the ISA actually has a wider frequency response...which you would think would affect the amount of harmonic coloration you get...
#24
24th May 2012
Old 24th May 2012
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For what its worth... and with my experience it ain't worth much


But for me with Pres... higher end ones... I found it's not just about the sound on one track...

It's how the set in a mix later, For me I use the expression "hold up"

they don't "Blur"

or me for a long time when I compared High end pres with cheaper ones I said "not enough difference at all for the money"

Till I worked with tracks recorded with them as more tracks were laid down and working with the mix... NOW A DIFFERENCE.

Was a good explantion of this once on another long gone forum..Wish I could find it
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24th May 2012
Old 24th May 2012
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The ISA is very much like the Great River .... just with the bottom octave missing.

But seriously, I'm not joking. The lack of output transformer on the newer ISA series preamps does take some "girth" away from the signal.

If you have them both in front of you, throw a bass in to the DI. Differences become a little easier to decipher. The GR isn't going to add low end into a source that doesn't have it to begin with, but kick drum, bass guitar, toms, ect ... very different sounding preamps (as far as preamps are concerned). Not to say the ISA doesn't sound good, but it's not exactly what I'd be reaching for when I need a full sounding preamp.

YMMV
#26
24th May 2012
Old 24th May 2012
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Personally I think you're good either way you go. But if it were me, I'd keep the Great River.
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marnisellers
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#27
24th May 2012
Old 24th May 2012
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Yeah. Guess I'll have to learn the Waves plugins. VOCAL-TRIPLER-MACHINE-BOOSTER PLUGINS - HERE I COME!

But if anyone wants to donate an EL8...I'll cook you a steak!

Probably a cheap steak because I have no money left.

Actually it'll probably be a sandwich.

Cup of coffee at least.

Actually...I uh...I have no coffee...
#28
3rd June 2012
Old 3rd June 2012
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I have had a Great River for a few years , an ISA one for a year and a half and the ISA 220 for 2 weeks.

The Great River is "better" but although the ISA is not as full sounding it can put together a whole song without having to do as much scooping as the GR might need.

For your purposes the ISA should have no problem tracking quality signals.

I don`t think you need the Great River but you may regret getting rid of it.
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